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South Carolina immigrant gets support from Illinois congressman

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez is working on behalf of a South Carolina father to try and get the deportation proceedings against him dropped. Congressman Gutierrez has become an advocate for undocumented immigrants who are facing deportation from the country. Gabino Sanchez is a 27-year-old husband and father of two young children, both United States citizens. The reason for his deportation hearing appears to be repeat misdemeanor traffic violations.

According to the report, Mr. Sanchez has nine misdemeanor convictions related to driving without a license or driving an unregistered vehicle in South Carolina and Georgia. Many illegal immigrants fear their immigration status might be exposed if they attempt to obtain a driver's license.

A resident of Ridgeland, South Carolina, Mr. Sanchez was brought undocumented to the United States by his Mexican parents when he was a 14-year-old. Since that time he has worked as a construction worker and landscaper, got married and bought a home and had two children. Congressman Gutierrez said that he is a great dad and husband and he has not received any speeding tickets, reckless driving or driving under the influence citations, or anything that could pose a threat to anyone's safety.

Because police never charged Mr. Sanchez with anything other than not having a valid driver's license, what exactly was he stopped for all those times anyway, asked the congressman.

The congressman's issue is that in attempting to deport this man based on misdemeanor traffic violations is simply unfair because it places him in the same category as criminals who commit serious crimes and pose a real threat to public safety. Mr. Sanchez does not have a felony record so it seems the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's only reason for choosing to start deportation proceedings against him is the multiple misdemeanor violations of driving without a license.

The congressman's reading of the current administration's policy on deportation is to focus on suspected illegal immigrants who pose a threat to the public or commit serious crimes. Misdemeanor traffic violations are not serious crimes.

Congressman Gutierrez said he will appear on behalf of Mr. Sanchez at his first deportation hearing this week because his case is typical of hundreds of thousands of these cases across the country.

Source: CharlotteObservor.com, "Illinois congressman to aid S.C. immigrant facing deportation," Tim Funk, Mar.13, 2012

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